Car hire excess was mentioned in a letter to the Irish Times yesterday. Following an article last Saturday "Attracting missing British tourists (to Ireland) will be 2013 focus", one of the problems that has been ongoing for a number of years has been the attitude of certain Irish car hire companies.
This issue has been featured on this blog and on many others. Ireland needs British Tourists, however if the car hire companies put visitors off then they will not return and tell their friends about problems experienced.
Under the title added by the Irish Times "Luring British tourists to Ireland" -
Sir, – Further to Genevieve Carbery’s article (“Attracting missing British tourists will be 2013 focus”, News Agenda, December 29th), a major problem for British tourists is how they get to Ireland.
There are plenty of low-cost flights bringing visitors to the country; however the average family of four needs to get about easily.
If they fly, they will require a car to hire, and unfortunately a lot of car hire companies in Ireland have had a bad name for a number of years. Customers are often “forced” to buy the company’s expensive excess insurance and other unwanted “add-ons”. One company appeared to add a “crossing the M50 toll” fee automatically even if the vehicles in question never went anywhere near it.
The other way of going to Ireland from Britain is by car ferry. Car ferry costs to Ireland have increased quite dramatically over the last five years. I have just looked at prices for a family of four taking their car to Ireland on June 28th and returning on July 12th. It would cost €460. The crossing takes 3½ hours.
Comparing this with a crossing from England to France, which takes just under two hours, the cost would be €117. The additional crossing time is only 1½ hours, but the difference in the two fares is over €340, money that the tourists could be spending in Ireland. Instead they go off to France and further afield.
Unfortunately there is not too much competition on the Irish routes and ideally the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation needs to lobby the car ferry companies to reduce their fares to tourists instead of continuing to increase them.
As long as it continues to cost tourists a great deal of their holiday budget to actually get to the country, whatever the Tourism Recovery Taskforce does will regrettably not make a lot of difference. – Yours, etc,
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